Date of Award

Fall 12-2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Center for Science and Math Education

Committee Chair

Dr. Jacob Clark Blickenstaff

Committee Chair Department

Physics and Astronomy

Committee Member 2

Dr. James T. Johnson

Committee Member 3

Dr. Jiu Ding

Committee Member 3 Department


Committee Member 4

Dr. Sherry Herron

Committee Member 4 Department

Center for Science and Math Education


The purpose of this research was to determine the effect of computer-based instruction on student mathematics achievement and students' attitudes toward mathematics in developmental and introductory mathematics courses, namely Elementary Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, and College Algebra, at a community college. The researcher also examined the relationship between attitudes and achievement. The sample consisted of 112 students, and the study was conducted during the Spring 2010 semester at a community college in south Mississippi. The participants were enrolled in one of six classes taught by the researcher. The control group consisted of three classes (one Intermediate and two College Algebra sections) taught using traditional lecture instruction. The treatment group was comprised of three classes (one Beginning, one Intermediate, and one College Algebra section) that were taught using computer-based instruction via the interactive online software MathXL. Both the control and treatment groups were taught the same objectives and received instruction two days a week for 75 minutes per day.

Mathematics achievement was measured by a comprehensive final exam that served as a pre-test and post-test. Achievement data were collected prior to any treatment and at the end of the study. Students' attitudes toward mathematics were measured both pre-survey and post-survey using the Attitudes Toward Mathematics Inventory (ATMI). Analyses of Covariance ANCOVA were used to determine whether there were significant differences in attitudes in the control and treatment groups and significant differences in achievement in the control and treatment groups, while controlling for pre-ATMI survey and pre-test scores. A correlation was used to determine whether there was a significant relationship between student achievement in mathematics and students' attitudes toward mathematics.

Results of the statistical analysis on pre- and post-ATMI surveys indicated a statistically significant difference in students' attitudes toward mathematics between the control and treatment groups. Students in the traditional lecture group had significantly higher attitudes than students in the computer-based classes. ANCOVA results of the pre- and post-tests showed no significant difference in achievement between the control and treatment groups. Results of the correlation showed a significant relationship between attitude and achievement in the traditional lecture control group.